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Palm Beach high school student iMAGines literacy at local shelters and makes it so

High school student Rujul Bharadwaj in Palm Beach, Florida is a young man on a literacy mission – a citizen of the world who iMAGines the way things can be and makes them so. Vinod Khosla, a trailblazing founder of Silicon Valley’s Sun Microsystems, says he lives by the philosophy, “Whatever I believe, I should make happen.” In The Art of the Start, early Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki explains that “if you want to change the world, make meaning.” In words paraphrased by both John and Robert Kennedy, Rajul dreams of things that could be, asks why not, and then sets out to make them happen. As explained in his own words, Rujul has been organizing book and magazine collections in his community for delivery to readers in homeless and domestic abuse shelters, culinary programs, and youth mentoring organizations. Thank you Rujul for your leadership and inspiration.

I was just trying to empty my garage. I had all these fancy magazines donated by friends, family, and Palm Beach County high school students sitting in my garage. I had held a book drive last year with help from Community Angel Network and collected books and magazines from local high schools, and donated them to local organizations like children’s organizations, homeless shelters, nursing homes, and hospitals. I had started with a very ordinary goal – earn the required high school community hours – but stumbled into something profound. It really felt good to be able to take a book that someone has enjoyed already and place it in another pair of hands eager to enjoy the book again. I was less successful though in redistributing the magazines. I had these piles of magazines in my garage with no takers. Or rather I should say, I didn’t know who to give them to. I wanted to do something meaningful with the magazines and fortunately I found magazineliteracy.org. With guidance from John Mennell, the founder, I have contacted local homeless shelters and soup kitchens and donated the magazines to them. In fact I had to ask friends and family to donate more magazines! I am looking forward to future projects like this!

Here’s some of the agencies served by Rujul’s literacy efforts:

  • Hale Empowerment and Revitalization Org (HERO)

    501(c)(3) charity
    Greensboro, AL
    Serving the following number of monthly readers by age:
    Young (5 – 8yrs): 50
    Youth (9-13yrs): 20
    Teens (13-19yrs): 50
    Parents (20-45yrs): 50
    Grandparents (45yrs +): 50
    Magazines Requested: Education or travel magazines

  • Casa Ramona Academy for Technology, Community, and Education

    School or Library
    San Bernardino, CA
    Need magazines for 22 males and 18 females between the ages of 11-16 years old
    Magazines Requested: Boys Life, Girls Life, National Geographic, Odyssey, Dig, Owl, Cobblestone, Ask en Español, Faces, Jack and Jill

  • Loogootee Elementary

    School
    Loogootee, IN
    Serving male and female students from kindergarten to third grade.
    Needs: Enough magazines for 1-20 low level readers and 1-20 medium level readers from the months of August through June.

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